Last Chance To Tell The Librarian Of Congress What's Important For A New Register Of Copyrights

from the go-for-it dept

The (still) new Librarian of Congress created a bit of a fuss last year in effectively forcing the existing Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, (the head of the US Copyright Office) out of a job. Pallante has since (of course) found a new gig heading up an industry trade group, the Association of American Publishers, with a fairly long history of being against the public, against the internet, against the blind and against fair use.

The removing of Pallante kciked off a bunch of ridiculous conspiracy theories that made little sense and had almost no basis in reality. It's pretty clear that Pallante was removed from her job because she had actively, and publicly, reached out to Congress to ask that she no longer have to report to Hayden. That seems like fairly basic insubordination and a fairly standard reason why a boss might fire you.

Either way, the fuss over Pallante losing her job resulted in Hayden promising to listen to all stakeholders about who should replace Pallante. To that end, she launched an online survey asking people what they'd like to see in a new Copyright Office boss. Frankly, this... feels kind of gimmicky and silly. Hayden got the job she got because she actually understands a lot of these issues. Yes, she should absolutely be listening to the public and weighing lots of thoughts, but an online survey... just feels like the wrong mechanism. And, of course, such things are prone to ballot stuffing (from all sides). If you look around, it's not hard to find some fairly crazy and "not-quite-in-touch-with-reality" groups and individuals who are telling people just how to stuff the ballot box, including some nonsense that completely misrepresents the role.

So I'm not going to tell anyone how they should fill out the survey, but I would suggest that people think carefully about what role the head of the Copyright Office should play. Should it be a job where the focus is on protecting the interests of a few gatekeepers who have spent years sucking up the copyrights of actual creators while claiming to represent artists? Or should it be someone who is focused on the actual job of the Copyright Office, such as modernizing the role of the copyright office, making it easier to research who holds copyrights on what works, and who is actually focused on the core principles of copyright law -- that it promote the progress of science -- as laid out in the Constitution?

The online survey closes tomorrow, Tuedsay January 31st (possibly today by the time you're reading this), so please get your thoughts in sooner rather than later.

Filed Under: carla hayden, copyright, copyright office, maria pallante, register of copyright


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  • identicon
    My_Name_Here, 30 Jan 2017 @ 4:48pm

    Let's all 4chan the thing and suggest Boaty McBoatface for the job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mermaldad (profile), 30 Jan 2017 @ 6:24pm

    "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read."

    -Groucho Marx

    I'm hoping we won't be able to see anything in a new copyright office boss.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2017 @ 7:37pm

    "resulted in Hayden promising to listen to all stakeholders about who should replace Pallante."

    Show of hands... anyone else been lied to by a politician?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Jan 2017 @ 11:27pm

      Re:

      Show of hands... anyone else been lied to by a politician?

      FWIW, Hayden is a librarian, not a politician.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2017 @ 6:32am

        Re: Re:

        Yea... um... go ahead and keep thinking that. If you get to make or enforce any policy based decisions... then you are a playing politics. So... a distinction without a difference.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Vidiot (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nonsense. Policy-based governance is at work in co-ops and communes, congregations and corporations; its absence gives rise to... how do they say?... "tin-pot despots".

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TripMN, 30 Jan 2017 @ 8:25pm

    Removing duplicates in e-text is easy

    I spent some time working for a Professor who was working on a system that helps when surveys (or any online response by the government) were used. One of the things that became apparent was that ballot stuffing was usually by copy/paste. It became really easy to build a system that deduplicates for exact or nearly exact duplicate text. You quickly go from 200,000 responses to like 25,000 unique responses with another 25,000 semi-unique where you just have to read the small parts that were slightly edited. It makes it a lot easier to get around the wads of e-paper and actually see who took the time to write their own thoughts down and send them in.

    BTW, I did fill out the survey. It's not that long.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2017 @ 8:40pm

      Re: Removing duplicates in e-text is easy

      One of the things that became apparent was that ballot stuffing was usually by copy/paste.

      I'm sure the copyright office wouldn't allow such blatant copying.

      /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        biorpg (profile), 4 Feb 2017 @ 6:17pm

        Re: Re: Removing duplicates in e-text is easy

        Actually, in the spirit of copyright law, they would need to uphold duplicates from the same source(copyright holder) and remove/disqualify duplicate or similar responses from individuals who could not reasonably prove that their response had not been influenced by said source.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 3:05am

    In the end she'll be the one to choose amirite? So I'd argue she was very smart. The format may be silly but it probably quelled a lot of bad feelings and she still has all the autonomy to do as she pleases.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymouse, 31 Jan 2017 @ 4:40am

    Hah, how said would it be if the deduplicated using the actual text of the law. In fact, thats probably what will happen. Anybody that quoted the actual law and wants the person to follow the is considered radical and is deleted from the results.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jose, 31 Jan 2017 @ 8:14am

    official has a burr under

    So as written, no this isn't a good ruling, it's stupid and wrong headed and you end up with the same situation where accessing information that's otherwise publicly available but some government official has a burr under his saddle against you or your company, he can go after you for breaching "privacy" when no such breech happened.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Eldakka (profile), 31 Jan 2017 @ 3:33pm

    not insurbordination

    > It's pretty clear that Pallante was removed from her job because she had actively, and publicly, reached out to Congress to ask that she no longer have to report to Hayden. That seems like fairly basic insubordination and a fairly standard reason why a boss might fire you.

    That is not insubordination. Insubordination is willfully disobeying a lawful (legal, ethical, within the authority of the one giving the order, and within the scope of duties of the one being ordered) order.

    This was internal politics that backfired on Pallante, who had to wear the consequences of failure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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